At Leeve, we are precursors. Pioneers. Because, without waiting for the lockdown, the team is already working remotely full time. Why? To be able to travel the world freely, and carry Leeve’s goals: meet people, discover new cultures, learn new languages; in a nutshell, see the world.
For the uninitiated, may I present my five Commandments to be a Master teleworker. With a bit of luck, we will be so productive that your boss will let you work from home after the lockdown!
1) Trust your team
Honestly that’s the basics. But that is true, whether you are working from home or not. If you are sitting behind your screen trying to monitor your team’s smallest deeds and gestures, you will not see the end of it. So you need to trust them. I mean really, I can Laurie, the founder of Leeve, know if I am really working or just feeding my Instagram account while listening to Rammstein? She trusts me. Don’t worry Laurie, I’m working, I’m working.
Of course, don’t let your team go haywire either, but remember those three keywords: trust, organisation, communication. For example, at Leeve, we host a videoconference every Monday morning, and, on Friday, we have individual meetings with Laurie. And we know we can talk to her anytime. Trust goes both ways.
2) Have the right tools
To keep this trust, this organisation and this communication going, one needs the right tools. Not necessarily the best ones, or the most expensive ones, but those who are best for you, and those with which you are most comfortable. For example, to communicate, we use Slack, which is very useful since we can create several chat rooms, in addition to private conversations. We can easily talk to our team mates, and share all the documents we need to work. For video conferences, we have a soft spot for Whereby, especially because sharing your screen is easy, and all you need to take part in it is a link; you don’t even need to create yet another account!
To organize our days nicely, we use Asana. So handy. You invite your team, create your projects, and then you can create your tasks easy peasy for the weeks to come, which you can even stagger if you want, indicate when your are done, assign tasks to your colleagues… I don’t know what I’d be doing without Asana. I’d probably be freaking out. Thanks Asana.
Then, for all the stocking and sharing of documents necessary to our work, we don’t all use the same thing. Fair enough. Our developers use Github, a platform on which to stock different versions of your code, based on the git software. On the Marketing & Communication side, we try to keep it simple. So, I won’t spend too much time on the last tool, everybody knows how to use Google Drive. But still, it is quite useful when we are several teammates working on the same file, we can all see live what’s happening, so, when working from home, one Google doc with Whereby and a cup of tea, and it’s like working from the office!
3) Organize your working time
I try establish a certain rigour on myself. I always start working at the same time, and finish around 5PM. That way, I make sure my professional life and private life (very busy during this confinement period, as you can imagine) remain separate. I let everyone know I am up on Slack and have a look at my tasks for the day. And what do we begin with? By the most important task, congrats. Those are always in orange for me, that way I don’t waste time trying to figure it out. Then, I take care of the tasks which require the most time. But careful, not all in one go: I give myself one hour, to write an article for example, and, after that hour, whether the article is finished or not, I move on. I complete a few quick tasks, and I go back to my article.
But that’s my method, my preference. You know yourself better than I do, and you know best what is better for your productivity. How do you organize yourself? I am always interested in having tips to optimize my time! Mostly because I am team do-it-quick-and-go-have-fun, but quiet, it’s a secret.
4) Avoid distractions
Well yes, if you spend your time looking at your phone because you’ve received a new Instagram notification, it will soon be complicated. So, take a breath, and deactivate notifications from all the apps that could distract you. Michel’s comment on your last selfie can wait until your next break. When it comes to music, do as you wish, I personally need music to work, otherwise I have a hard time staying focused on what I do.
I’ve also cleaned up a corner of my home which is now dedicated to work, whether it is my professional work or for my degree, both work the same. That way, I stay focused on my work. But, once I’ve left my desk, I’m done, I disconnect completely. It lets me keep some mental stability.
5) Take care of yourself
THE most important point to me. Because, if you don’t care care of yourself, you won’t feel good, and that’s where the vicious circle begins. So, being focused and productive, yes, but don’t forget yourself. Take breaks, even small ones, 5 minutes is enough! It will be good for your brain, your eyes and your body. To take care of my eyes, I wear glasses with filtered lenses, to avoid the screen’s blue light, and I try to often stand up, stretch, walk a bit. Just as not to stay motionless for 7 hours then be surprised because everything hurts.
To be mentally prepared, it is also important to have a routine. In the morning, get ready: take a shower, get changed, even if it is just to put you day pyjamas on. No, I’m wearing yoga pants, it’s completely different. At noon, take some time off to have a real lunch break, call your friends, your family, check on them during the confinement. And, in the evening, stop, leave your computer alone, rest. Leave it all alone. Disconnect from it completely.
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